November 2017 News

AAI Shelves Liquor Shop Plan At Sgr Airport

3 November 2017
Rising Kashmir
Javid Ahmad

Srinagar: The Airport Authorities of India (AAI) Friday shelved the plan to open a liquor shop at after the permission was denied by Excise department and widespread public criticism. The decision to cancel Shiekh ul Alam Srinagar International airport - named after a revered Kashmiri sufi saint - the liquor shop was taken in view of public resentment and after media reports which criticised government proposal. Officials said that the proposal was abandoned after authorities sensed that the criticism to setting up of a liquor shop. 'Honouring local sentiments, AAI has decided to cancel the tender process of duty paid liquor shop with immediate effect. AAI believes and works towards better facilities for its passengers and endeavours to cater for more and more passenger-friendly good initiatives towards customer satisfaction,' said an official statement. Director Srinagar Airport, Sharad Kumar told Rising Kashmir that, 'We have decided to cancel the proposal.' 'We had already put the tender on hold,' Kumar said. However, the date for the online submission of financial as well as technical e-tender was extended from 3 October to 6 November while as the date for opening of financial bids was extended from 31 October to 7 November as per the latest corrigendum notice available on AAI website. Asked about the extension in e-tender, Kumar said, 'We will withdraw the tender, it will be removed from the website. There is no longer a tender for this liquor shop.' Earlier the AAI had decided to open liquor outlets at 12 major airports across India including Srinagar. According to Kumar, one person has applied for the e-tender but 'that doesn't matter.' 'We are with the people of Kashmir and not against them There was however no objection observed at other 11 locations. In Srinagar I found that some of our friends and well-wishers informed that the plan was not matching with the social requirement. Then I thought why to go for it when people are not happy with this move,' said Kumar adding, 'media and social media reports were also taken into cognizance.' The plan to open the liquor shop had evoked strong reaction from many quarters including netizens denouncing the government's move to allow liquor sale at the Srinagar airport. Following the outrage state Excise department denied granting of licence for liquor shop. In a letter shot to director Srinagar Airport, excise commissioner Mohammad Javed Khan asked the AAI to stop the process for setting up of liquor shop as the utility will not be allowed to open. 'In continuation to this office letter no EC-Exc-1294 dated 13 October 2017 where under you have been intimated that the J&K Excise department shall not grant liquor license for opening of liquor shop- vend at Srinagar international airport in violation to the provisions of J&K Excise Act, 1958 and Liquor License and Sale Rules 1984,' reads a letter. The excise commissioner has intimated to the Airport director that the opening of liquor shop at the Airport will not be 'allowed- permitted as such you may stop the process for any such proposal, as the Excise department will not grant the licence required for the facility.' Khan said that under the provisions of J&K Excise Act, 1958 and Liquor License and Sale Rules 1984 provisions demand that there should be no objection from stakeholders. 'As per rules, there should be no objection from stakeholders-public, Police and district magistrate etc. The excise rules seek 'No objection certificates' (NoCs) for the same and no NoC document was submitted to the excise department. In view of public resentment, at the initial stage we have told the Airport authorities that opening of liquor outlet will not be permitted,' he said.